PUEBLO — Colorado State Sen. Nick Hinrichsen will be getting back the $50 he donated a few years ago to A Caring Pregnancy Center (ACPC) in Pueblo.
The center’s executive director Tamra Axworthy says after Complete Colorado ran a story questioning Hinrichsen’s actual position on abortion, and after Hinrichsen went to the local newspaper to claim that he was not familiar with the center’s pro-life mission, several community members came forward with donations of their own so that Hinrichsen’s could be refunded.
ACPC works with pregnant women, providing resources they need to give birth rather than get an abortion.
More importantly, says Axworthy, is after Hinrichsen told the Pueblo Chieftain that he not only regretted making the donation, but that he would have never made the donation had he realized it was not an abortion clinic, her supporters didn’t want her to keep his money.
“Prior to Sen. Hinrichsen expressing his regret about supporting ACPC, I blindly believed that empowering pregnant women through free pregnancy testing, limited STI testing and treatment, ultrasound access, and clairy of available options was a good thing,” said one donor to the center, who Complete Colorado will not identify. “I now realize, however, that supporting such services for our community’s most vulnerable mothers, daughters, and granddaughters is regretful. As a thank you to Sen. Hinrichsen for this insight, I’ll be donating $50 to ACPC with the memo, ‘Sen. Hinrichsen refund.’”
Axworthy said learning that after a yearlong relationship with her organization, Hinrichsen was suddenly “disgusted” to realize the $50-dollar donation he gave in 2018 went to provide a no-cost pregnancy test and ultrasound to a mom who knowingly and willingly walked through the doors requesting such care, saddened her.
“Since the news of his regret became public, ACPC has had several calls, emails, and messages from our supporters offering to provide him with a refund of that donation in light of his obvious grief,” she said.
Axworthy previously told Complete Colorado Hinrichsen and his wife, former State Rep. Bri Buentello, used her to gain support from Republicans for her campaign as a “pro-life” Democrat in 2018.
“She was trying to appeal to moderate conservatives,” Axworthy said, adding they were not close friends but would spend time together on occasion. “I introduced her to a bunch of people.”
It was around that time that ACPC hosted the “Walk for Life” to raise money for the center. It was a peer-to-peer fundraiser, so participants solicited money from family and personal friends, including Hinrichsen, who donated to Axworthy.
Hinrichsen, who was appointed to the Senate District 3 seat in February 2022 to replace Leroy Garcia, after Garcia took a position at the Pentagon, was on record in this election saying men shouldn’t have an opinion on the medical decisions women make regarding their own bodies, and he has pledged to support continuing access to abortion if elected. He most recently took part in a protest at ACPC.
“We all worked together to help (Buentello’s) campaign, getting her connected to pro-life people,” Axworthy said. “I’m wondering what his stance really is.”
But after Hinrichsen’s seemingly overnight change of heart — as he never brought up the regret until called by Complete Colorado about the flip-flop — he will get his money back.
“ACPC is a nearly 40-year-old, well-established, non-profit organization which was very recently voted Pueblo’s best for the 2nd year in a row by this amazing community,” Axworthy said. “That accolade is made possible largely because we strive to equip, educate, and protect the men, women, and families we serve each day, and our community sees that we are a non-judgmental, compassionate organization offering practical help to those who need and want it. We are known as a ‘pro-informed-choice’ organization because we openly share all of a woman’s options with her and don’t withhold vital medical information.”
Axworthy said several people reached out to her to donate to what she now jokingly calls the Hinrichsen fund.
“The idea of refunding a donor of ACPC is unprecedented and to my knowledge has never been requested before however, in our efforts to be good stewards of our donor dollars we would agree to the refund as it was specifically requested by the supporters who gave in light of his remorse,” Axworthy said. “ACPC is very grateful to our community and those who stand up for and represent us so well.”
More than a dozen donors donated several hundred dollars to the facility.
“In the event you do not wish to receive or keep donations from individuals who oppose services such as STI testing, pregnancy testing, ultrasound access and the like, we are enclosing a $50 check to replace the Senator’s donation, should you wish to refund his donation to him,” one donor said.
One donor said she was donating in part because Pueblo is a community that values all women and ACPC is a “huge part of that story.”
“Being Pro-Life is not a noun, it’s a verb,” she said. “It isn’t enough to make a declaration, we should give and live out that value. The services ACPC provides to women are critical in supporting their choices.”
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